Monday, 27 February 2017

Fact(ory) outlet or Education for the future

I have been encouraged by the intelligent engagement displayed by some children regarding our current educational system.  It should not be surprising in this day and age to find teenagers and young people expressing concern around how and what we appear to consider to be education in a world that is hyper-connected and has obviously moved beyond early nineteenth century enlightenment thinking.  We are now in the twenty first century and yet our educational system is designed for a burgeoning manufacturing society that expects its citizens to work as modules slotted into a productive mould. This complaint is not new and can be found through many media sites both social and undoubtedly educational.  It is however not the only system that appears to be firmly based in the early nineteenth century or earlier.

Societies have moved on from the beginning of the nineteenth century.  Today we embrace a connectivity that is not local but international.  Thoughts from Australia are validly spread to all corners of the globe within moments and yet our educational systems appear to have stagnated in a time of letter writing and communication times that were months rather than milliseconds.  Teachers appear to be immersed in a world where they are expected to churn out non-thinking robots who have the intelligence to pass a standard test but cannot operate within a complex interconnected society.  I constantly hear that the way to decrease youth disenfranchisement and violence is education.  Yet, the education on offer does not assist the youth to become engaged in their society but rather in a make believe historic setting.  The education system has not embraced changing societal norms and has chosen to remain in the past with the connivance of the 'expert' educators, politicians and lastly but certainly the most misinformed, the public  It is of interest to note that some public companies are demonstrating this need to change by not requiring high matric marks (A level, school leaver graduates) or University degrees in preference for other criteria when looking for employees.  Unfortunately, the education system in many countries not having done so now needs to seriously re-think education following two hundred years of societal change in expectations.

We may have changed our equipment (or not) but have we changed our future?

The education system is perhaps the most pervasive system that stands out as being in need of changing from a Fact(ory) outlet to something that is reflective of the needs of a changing public and society.  Religious institutions fall well into the same category and those of us who are even vaguely religious need to feel shame as to what has been offered up by educational and faith centres as fulfilling the call of God upon our lives.  The scathing criticism offered by the Catholic Bishop of Parramata regards the institution of the Catholic church is a glimpse of a Spirit driven insight.  Irrespective of your denomination or indeed your religion it is time that we need to re-consider our time worn methods of connecting and showing God's love to God's people.  So often in parishes and centres of faith the concern of the moment is a 'stage' or the position of a 'pew' rather than the communities needs.  If, we are followers of a faith, than we have a duty to ensure that our children are educated not only in their faith journey but in their journey through life as the two are entwined and cannot be separated.  If we cannot engage our young people within there life journey how can we expect to engage them within their own faith journey.

Christ said 'suffer the little children to come to me' and 'if you place a stumbling block in front of them than you are the one who is condemned.'  We are doing the latter with our educational systems that are based in the past.  We are also doing the same thing with how we undertake our parish ministry often times binding ourselves to burdens that should have been laid aside a long time ago.  At what point do we start to recognise within our Educational system and our Ecclesial system that the world has moved forward two or more centuries (in deed longer for the Church) since they were put in place as new.

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